Evaluating marine protected areas for the conservation of tropical coastal sharks

  • Published source details Knip D.M., Heupel M.R. & Simpfendorfer C.A. (2012) Evaluating marine protected areas for the conservation of tropical coastal sharks. Biological Conservation, 148, 200-209.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit all fishing activity in a marine protected area with limited exceptions

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all fishing activity in a marine protected area with limited exceptions

    A replicated study in 2009–2010 of two shallow coastal areas in the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Australia (Knip et al. 2012) found that individuals of two shark species displayed frequent and long-term use of marine protected areas prohibiting all fishing (except restricted line fishing and bait netting) for five years, and thus were protected from fishing for a proportion of time. Immature pigeye Carcharhinus amboinensis and adult spottail Carcharhinus sorrah were detected inside protected areas an average of 23% (range 2–67%) and 32% (range 0–67%) of time respectively, and for 4–676 days (average 190 days) and 28–566 days (average 281 days). In addition, the amount of time spent inside protected areas was significantly different between sexes for spottail, but not pigeye, with female spottail spending more time (38%) than males (21%). All the tracked sharks left the protected areas during monitoring, on average 0.9 times/day for pigeye and 1.7 times/day for spottail. Sharks were monitored in two marine protected areas in Cleveland Bay (140 km2) off the wider Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (rezoned in 2003) in which trawling and netting (bait netting excluded) are prohibited and line fishing is limited to one line per person and one hook per line. Sharks are not targeted by the permitted fisheries and 95% are released alive if captured. From 2009 to 2010, tracking data was collected from 37 sub-adult pigeye and 20 adult spottail fitted with acoustic transmitters by 55 underwater receivers deployed inside the two protected areas.

    (Summarised by: Natasha Taylor)

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